The Inquiry

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1919 group photo of Inquiry members at the Paris Peace Conference-sitting left to right Charles Homer Haskins, Western Europe; Isaiah Bowman, Chief of Territorial Intelligence; Sidney Edward Mezes, Director; James Brown Scott, International Law; David Hunter Miller, International Law; standing Charles Seymour, Austria-Hungary; R. H. Lord, Poland; William Linn Westermann, Western Asia; Mark Jefferson, Cartography; Edward Mandell House; George Louis Beer, Colonies; D.W. Johnson, geography; Clive Day, Balkans; W. E. Lunt, Italy; James T. Shotwell, History; Allyn Abbott Young, Economics

The Inquiry was a study group established in September 1917 by Woodrow Wilson to prepare materials for the peace negotiations following World War I. The group, composed of around 150 academics, was directed by presidential adviser Edward House and supervised directly by philosopher Sidney Mezes. The Heads of Research were Walter Lippmann, who was later replaced by Isaiah Bowman. The group first worked out of the New York Public Library, but later worked from the offices of the American Geographical Society of New York, once Bowman joined the group.[1]

Mezes's senior colleagues were geographer Isaiah Bowman, historian and librarian Archibald Cary Coolidge, historian James Shotwell, and lawyer David Hunter Miller.[1] Progressive confidants who were consulted on staffing but who did not contribute directly to the administration or reports of the group included James Truslow Adams, Louis Brandeis, Abbott Lawrence Lowell and Walter Weyl.

Twenty-one members of The Inquiry, later integrated into the larger American Commission to Negotiate Peace, traveled to the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919,[2] accompanying Wilson aboard the USS George Washington to France.

Also included in the group were such academics as Paul Monroe, professor of history at Columbia University, a key member of the Research Division who drew on his experience in the Philippines to assess the educational needs of developing areas such as Albania, Turkey and central Africa,[3] and Frank A. Golder, a history professor from Washington State University specializing in the diplomatic history of Russia, who wrote papers on Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia.[4]

Recommendations

The Inquiry provided various recommendations for the countries which it surveyed. Specifically, these recommendations discussed the ideal borders for various countries as well as various other things which were felt necessary to achieve a lasting peace free of tensions.

France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Denmark

The Inquiry recommended that Alsace-Lorraine be returned to France, that the parts of the Saarland which France controlled before 1815 be returned to it, and that the Rhineland be demilitarized.[5] In regards to Belgium, it was recommended that Belgium's neutral status be abolished and that Belgium be allowed to annex some territory in the Maastricht and Malmedy regions for strategic (in the case of Maastricht) and ethnic (in the case of Malmedy) reasons.[6] As for Luxembourg, it was recommended that it either be annexed to Belgium or have its independence restored.[7] Meanwhile, there should be a plebiscite in northern Schleswig and this area should be transferred from Germany to Denmark if that is what the people of this region prefer.[8]

Russia, Poland, and the former Russian Empire

The Inquiry suggested that, if it was possible for Russia to become a genuine federal and democratic state, the Baltic states (with the possible exception of Lithuania) and Ukraine should be encouraged to reunify with Russia due to their belief that this would best serve the economic interests of everyone involved.[9] Meanwhile, if the Bolsheviks maintain their control of Russia, the Inquiry suggested that the independence of the Baltic states and Ukraine be recognized on condition that a referendum on reunion with Russia be held in these territories at some future, better time.[9] As for the borders of Ukraine, Latvia, and Estonia, the borders which were proposed for them were very similar to the borders that these countries ended up with after 1991; indeed, the Inquiry even suggested that Crimea should be given to Ukraine.[10]

In regards to Finland, the Inquiry expressed its support for an independent Finland and also expressed a desire to see the Aland Islands be transferred from Finland to Sweden (something that was ultimately not done).[11] As for Poland, it was recommended that an independent Poland be created out of all indisputably Polish areas, that (if possible) Poland and Lithuania should unite, and that Poland "be given secure and unhampered access to the Baltic [Sea]" through the creation of a Polish Corridor.[12] While acknowledging that it would be unfortunate to separate East Prussia (with its 1,600,000 Germans) from the rest of Germany, the Inquiry considered this to be the lesser evil in comparison to denying Poland (a nation of 20,000,000 people) access to the sea; in addition to this, the Inquiry expressed confidence that Germany can easily be assured railroad transit across the Polish Corridor.[12] As for Poland's eastern borders, the Inquiry kept the door option to a Polish annexation of eastern Galicia and Belarusian-majority territories to the north of it.[12]

In the Caucasus, the Inquiry suggested giving independence to Armenia (in the borders of Wilsonian Armenia) and provisional independence to both Georgia and Azerbaijan.[13] In addition to this, the idea of a future union of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan was discussed and looked at favorably by the Inquiry.[13]

Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Italy

It was suggested that Czechoslovakia be created out of the Czech-majority and Slovak-majority areas of the former Austria-Hungary.[14] In addition, it was suggested for Czechoslovakia to include both the Sudetenland as well as Subcarpathian Ruthenia and more than 500,000 Hungarians (Magyars) south of Slovakia.[14]

As for Romania, the Inquiry advised allowing it to annex all of Bessarabia, the Romanian-majority part of Bukovina, all of Transylvania, the Romanian-majority areas in Hungary proper, and about two-thirds of the Banat.[15] In addition, the Inquiry suggested having Romania cede southern Dobruja to Bulgaria (something which ultimately ended up happening in 1940).[15] Meanwhile, it was suggested that an "independent federated Yugo-Slav state" be created out of Serbia, Monetnegro, and the Serbian, Croatian, and Slovenian territories of the former Austria-Hungary.[16]

While the Inquiry acknowledged that the Brenner Pass (as promised to Italy in the 1915 Treaty of London) would give Italy the best strategic frontier, it instead recommended a line somewhat to the south of it in order to reduce the number of ethnic Germans who will be put inside of Italy (while still giving Italy a more defensible border in the north than it had before World War I).[17] In addition, it was suggested that Italy be allowed to annex Istria (with its large number of ethnic Italians) but not Italian-majority Fiume due to its importance to Yugoslavia.[18] In addition, it was advised that Italy should end its occupation of Rhodes and the Dodecanese Islands and give them to Greece in accordance with the wishes of these islands' inhabitants.[19] Also, the Inquiry recommended that Italian Libya "be given a hinterland adequate for access to the Sudan and its trade."[19]

German Austria and Hungary

It was recommended that German Austria (later renamed the Republic of Austria) be established as an independent state and be given an outlet for trade at Trieste, Fiume, or both of these cities.[20] Meanwhile, it was suggested that Hungary be given independence with borders very similar to the ones that it ultimately ended up getting with the Treaty of Trianon and that it also be given an outlet for trade at either Trieste or Fiume as well as "rights of unrestricted commerce on the lower Danube.[21] As for the German-majority Burgenland, the Inquiry advised to keep it inside of Hungary--at least until it became clear that the people there indeed desired union with Austria--in order to avoid "disturb[ing] long-established institutions."[22]

Albania, Constantinople, the Straits, and the Middle East

No specific recommendations were given for Albania due to the extremely complex nature of the situation there.[23]

As for Constantinople, it was suggested that an internationalized state be created there and that the Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles be permanently open to ships and commercial vessels of all countries and that there should be international guarantees to uphold this.[24] Meanwhile, in regards to Anatolia, it was advised that an independent Turkish Anatolian state should be created under a League of Nations mandate, with the Great Power who would be in charge of this mandate being determined later.[25]

Also, the Inquiry suggested that independent Mesopotamian and Syrian states should be created under a League of Nations mandate, with the Great Powers in charge of these mandates a matter of later debate.[26] The proposed Syrian state would consist of territories which are today part of Lebanon, northern Jordan, and western Syria; meanwhile, the proposed Mesopotamian state would consist of territories which are today part of Iraq and northeastern Syria.[26] In addition, it was advised to keep open the option of the creation of an Arab confederation which includes Mesopotamia and Syria.[26]

As for Palestine, it was advised that an independent Palestinian state under a British League of Nations mandate be created.[27] Jewish settlement would be allowed and encouraged in this state and this state's holy sites would be under the control of the League of Nations.[27] Indeed, the Inquiry spoke positively about the possibility of a Jewish state eventually being created in Palestine if the necessary demographics for this were to exist.[27]

In regards to Arabia, it was suggested that the King of Hejaz should not be given assistance to impose his rule over unwilling Arab tribes.[28]

Legacy

Some members would later establish the Council on Foreign Relations, which is independent of the government.[29]

References

  1. ^ a b Lindsay Rogers (July 1964). "The Inquiry: American Preparations for Peace, 1917-1919 by Lawrence E. Gelfand". Geographical Review. 54 (3): 260–462. doi:10.2307/212676. 
  2. ^ Peter Grose (1996). "The Inquiry". The Council on Foreign Relations from 1921 to 1996. The Council on Foreign Relations. 
  3. ^ Ment, David M. (2005). "Education, nation‐building and modernization after World War I: American ideas for the Peace Conference". Paedagogica Historica. 41 (1–2): 159–177. doi:10.1080/0030923042000335529. 
  4. ^ Terence Emmons and Bertrand M. Patenaude (eds.), "Introduction" to War, Revolution, and Peace in Russia: The Passages of Frank Golder, 1914-1927. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1992; pg. xvii.
  5. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 212–214. 
  6. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 215–216. 
  7. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. p. 217. 
  8. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 217–218. 
  9. ^ a b Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 219–220. 
  10. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 223, 227–228. 
  11. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 221–222. 
  12. ^ a b c Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 224–226. 
  13. ^ a b Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 229–230. 
  14. ^ a b Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 230–232. 
  15. ^ a b Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 233–235. 
  16. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 235–239. 
  17. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 239–241. 
  18. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 239–242. 
  19. ^ a b Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 239–242. 
  20. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 243–245. 
  21. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 245–246. 
  22. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. p. 243. 
  23. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 247–248. 
  24. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 254–256. 
  25. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 257–258. 
  26. ^ a b c Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 260–262. 
  27. ^ a b c Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 263–264. 
  28. ^ Miller, David Hunter (1924). My Diary. At the Conference of Paris. With Documents. IV. New York: Appeal Printing Company. pp. 265–267. 
  29. ^ "History of CFR". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
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